Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: December 29, 2010

Kansas Trail News for December 29, 2010 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

Kaw River State Park Trail Project Progresses

The following is excerpted from the Kansas Trails Council newsletter (December, 2010):

“Work continues on the gravel trail with the completion of the first bridge. Two more bridges are in progress with the gabion abutments completed. The basic trail corridor has been completed and the rock base has been laid on about half of the trail. After the rest of the base is laid, the final layer of crushed limestone will be spread. Building this trail has required the use of many types of equipment including excavators, skid-steers and material carriers like the CanyCom dumper.” — Mike Goodwin (goodwinmw@cox.net).

Kaw River State Park, located northwest of Topeka, consists of 76 acres of oak-hickory forest on the south bank of the Kansas River, overlooking the river and is adjacent to MacLennan Park and Cedar Crest, the governor’s mansion.

Development of the network of trails is ongoing and there will be a variety of trail types for pedestrian use and mountain bikers of various skill levels. The park eventually will have both double-wide gravel surface trails and dirt surface single-track trails. The trails connect with many of the MacLennan Park trails. There is also a boat ramp for canoeists and other boaters. This is the only free state park.

New Website For Blue River Rail-Trail

Marshall County Connections has a new and very attractive website for their Blue River Rail Trail. The rail-trail stretches from Marysville to the Nebraska state line. The website is: www.blueriverrailtrail.org Spearheading the effort was board member Maureen Crist. Two miles of the rail-trail have been completed. The full Blue River Rail Trail will eventually be developed for 13 miles to the Nebraska line. There it is slated to connect with the Homestead Trail that runs through Beatrice and on to Lincoln. The trail’s corridor covers a diversity of habitats, upland areas of mixed shrub, grassland, flood plain and stream crossings, timber and pastures and is bordered by croplands.

Solomon Valley Trail Proposed

The Solomon Valley US 24 Heritage Alliance is exploring area trail opportunities including development of a 150-mile recreational trail between Hoxie (E. of Colby) to Glasco (SW of Concordia). The trail would traverse the scenic and rugged Greenhorn and Dakota ranges of the Smoky Hills and link the following:(1) Cottonwood Ranch State Historic Site; (2) Nicodemus National Historic Site; (3) Webster Wildlife Area; (4) Glen Elder Wildlife Area and State Park; and, (5) Solomon Valley Bluffs. The trail would follow the South Fork of the Solomon River and the Leavenworth-Pikes Peak Express Stageline (1859) and cross the Pawnee Indian Trail and Zebulon Pike Trail. Part of the recreational path could utilize the US 24 right-of-way and part could utilize the Solomon Riverway.

Equestrian Center To Be Built Near Mulvane

An equestrian center will be built as part of the new Kansas Star Casino west of Mulvane (18 miles south of Wichita). The Center will have an equestrian area, designed to host multiple horse events each year. Also, there will be a racetrack and RV park.

Flint Hills Trail Grant Correction

Contrary to an article in the last Kansas Trails News, the $25,000 grant received from the Kansas Health Foundation will be used by Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy for a 5.5-mile segment of the Flint Hills Trail stretching between Admire and Miller in Lyon County (north of Emporia). About 24 miles of the trail will also soon be completed between Admire and Council Grove thanks to a grant from the Jones Trust of Emporia. Once these two sections are completed, there will be a 30 miles of continuous trail open for the enjoyment of the public.

Discussions Underway On Having Offenders Work On Trails

Discussions are underway about cooperative programs and projects for Kansas Dept. of Corrections inmates to provide long term and short term work crews for the Landon and Flint Hills Nature Trails under construction by Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. Issues being discussed include issues such as funding, transportation, tools, and supervision.

The Dept. of Corrections has been doing these programs for many years and feel very comfortable with them. They presently do programs with Wildlife and Parks, Dept. of Transportation, and the City of Topeka. Kanza can do long term construction projects with in-custody minimum security inmates and short term projects using persons completing community service hours through Community Corrections. Each judicial district has its own Community Corrections staff which is funded through KDOC.

Two approaches will be pursued in small increments. Kanza will be working with the undersecretary, who is also over the Topeka Correctional Facility, to develop a long term program using work crews from that facility.

Kanza will also work with the Community Corrections Director to develop a program to use local judicial district programs to have community service done on the trails as short term projects.

This could become a major piece in the Conservancy’s efforts to build new trail sections and to manage existing trail segments.

Cheyenne Bottoms Guided Tours Available

From the Lawrence Journal-World, 12-21-10:

Hays — Visitors to the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in west-central Kansas are getting some extra guidance.

Biology graduate students at Fort Hays State University have started leading van tours of the wetlands. The university says the effort is being organized by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center of the school’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

The education center’s manager, Curtis Wolf, says people can drive through Cheyenne Bottoms any time they want for free. But visitors often say is they saw a lot of water and birds but didn’t really know what they were.

Wolf says the goal of the tours is to provide visitors a fuller experience.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. We strive to uphold our values for every story published.

Kanza Receives $30,000 Grant For Landon Trail

The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced that it has received a $30,000 grant from the Lattner Family Foundation of Delray Beach, Florida to develop the Landon Nature Trail between the Clinton Wildlife Area in Shawnee County and the whistle stop of Swissvale in Osage County (north of Overbrook). This section of the 38-mile Landon Trail is particularly scenic as it follows picturesque Camp Creek with its clear, rushing water and wooded oak-hickory covered hills. Land surrounding the Swissvale Waterfall lying within the corridor can be turned into a picnic area.

Wilderness Conservation Policy Restored

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on December 23 he is planning to replace a 2003 policy which halted the creation of new wilderness areas and opened millions of acres to potential commercial development. The Dept. of Interior will review some 220 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to see which tracts should be designated a new category called “Wild Lands”. Congress would then decide whether those lands should be permanently protected as National Wilderness Areas.

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published monthly by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Recreational Trails, P.O. Box 44-2043, Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-842-3458. Reprinted with permission. If you have any trail news you’d like to share, please contact us.

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By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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